Revision Guide for listening

This guide has been produced looking at regular features of the GCSE Music Listening papers. The information required is summaries in different sections with clear glossary and use of terms.

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The following things have been used in lots of questions
on all papers since 2004. You are bound to be asked about
these so you MUST understand them.
asked to name an instrument playing something. If
you don't play in a band or orchestra this is difficult.
The best way to learn is to go to
and here you can listen to all the different
orchestral instruments and learn what they sound

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They mean things that are
happening in the music, such as SEQUENCE,
PEDAL, IMITATION (See the Glossary at the back
for definitions).
TEXTURE. You will be asked to describe the texture
at a given point in the music. Texture means the
ways that sounds are combined together. I have
only seen these 3 in the listening test.
MONOPHONIC means 1 single sound; it could be a
voice or an instrument.…read more

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CADENCES. You will be asked to name or describe a
cadence at a given point. Cadences are musical
punctuation, you can think of them as commas and
full stops. There are several kinds but you really
need only think of 2. PERFECT CADENCE is a
musical full stop. IMPERFECT CADENCE is a
musical comma. If you honestly do not have a clue,
write PERFECT CADENCE whenever you are asked
to name or describe a cadence.
TONALITY.…read more

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ELECTRONIC EFFECTS. You will be asked to name
an effect used in a piece of popular music. They
mean an electric effect which has been used to
alter the sound. Do not confuse this with a playing
effect like strumming a guitar for example. The
most usual effects are ­
REVERB ­ this makes it sound like singing or playing in
a very large room, it is like a tiny, tiny echo. Do not
confuse this with the real echo.…read more

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THE BAROQUE SUITE. You will get a question in
which you have to identify which kind of dance you
are listening to. You must memorise them.
MINUET ­ has 3 beats to a bar and it is at a medium
speed. It is easy to confuse this with a waltz but it does
not have the um-pa-pa background of a waltz and it is
SARABANDE ­ is really slow and serious. It's the only
one that is slow.…read more

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The following terms have all appeared in the listening
test since 2004. Many have appeared more than once
and some have been in every one. You MUST memorise
ACCELERANDO ­ the music gets gradually faster.
ACCENT ­ Means that a note is given more emphasis or
stress than others.
ADAGIO ­ to be performed slowly and in a relaxed
manner (just think slow)
ALLEGRO ­ fast
ALLEGRETTO ­a bit fast, not as fast as allegro
ANDANTE ­ quite slow.…read more

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DRONE ­note or notes that carry on throughout the
music, like bagpipes.
DYNAMICS ­ just means the louds and quiets in the
music and how they change. This is REALLY
IMPORTANT and you would be surprised how many
people don't know. REMEMBER IT.
GLISSANDO ­ sliding from one note to another like a
slide on a guitar with a bottleneck. Trombones and
violins etc do this really well. They seem to like this one
it has been in every paper recently.…read more

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SEQUENCE ­ when a pattern of notes is played or sung
again but slightly higher or lower, usually by the same
instrument or voice. Another favourite one this.
SFORZANDO ­ When a bit suddenly stands out in the
STACCATO ­ when notes are played short and detached.
Sounds jumpy.
SYNCOPATION ­ when the music lies against the beat
instead of with it. Most popular music is syncopated,
most marches and waltzes, for example, aren't.…read more


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